Mediterranean Mezze with Riceland Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves

Mediterranean & Middle Eastern food has always played an integral part of my life.  I come from a family of tradition and Sundays have always meant an entire day of cooking elaborate Lebanese dishes with my dad.  Just like Spain does tapas, & Italians do aperitivos,  us middle easterners have what we call mezze: an array of small traditional dishes that serve as appetizers or sometimes even a meal.  On the mezze menu today I've decided to partner up with Riceland Rice just in time for National Rice Month to show you how I make one of my favorite middle eastern dishes: stuffed grape leaves. (also vegan & gluten free!) Let's get started. 

Mediterranean Mezze with Riceland Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves vegan gluten-free Lebanese cuisine

Being Cuban & Lebanese, I've always been blessed with meals that pack BIG flavor. Both types of cuisine are very different but one thing remains the same: the use of rice as a staple in almost all of my meals. Today's main component of the mezze for example, stuffed grape leaves, is made with tomatoes, parsley, lemon, garlic, and onion, and Riceland Rice's medium grain rice. 

Fun Fact

If you follow me on snapchat (and if you don't you should! @zeinabc )  you know that about a week ago I was up to some exciting business at the Lifetime TV studio with Riceland Rice.  I worked with them behind the scenes of their new segment which is to air on Lifetime TV's The Balancing Act. It was such a treat to finally work with a food brand, especially Riceland, whose rice we've been cooking for YEARS in my family.  Riceland is actually a family farmer-owned cooperative that provides marketing services for rice soybeans & wheat grown by its farmer members in Arkansas and Missouri- right here in the US.  One of the many reasons why I got on board with this project (besides the fact that I eat rice almost every day as a vegan) is because the family farmers of Riceland are big on water conservation & sustainability practices.  Way to go, Riceland! 

Here's what you're going to need: *all ingredients are approximate

  1. Grape Leaves
  2. 1 tomato
  3. 2 bunches of parsley 
  4. 1 or 2 onions 
  5. Juice of 3 or 4 lemons 
  6. 4 cloves of garlic (minced) 
  7. 2 cups of Riceland Plump and Tender Medium Grain Rice. 
  8. Olive Oil
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1 potato for cooking technique 

Now it's really important to remember to use medium grain rice when preparing this dish because that's what's going to bind all the ingredients together and keep the stuffed grape leaves in tact.  Medium grain rice is stickier than other rice, and is actually used to make sushi, rice pudding, and even casseroles in some cases.  


  • Chop parsley, onion, & tomato and set aside in bowl. 
  • Add 2 cups of uncooked Riceland Plump & Tender Medium Grain Rice & mix in with minced garlic & lemon juice.  ** DO NOT pre cook the rice. 
  • In a medium sized pot place medium sliced potatoes (above) into the pot and top with Olive Oil. I'm not sure what this does but my dad has always cooked the grape leaves this way and it works lol. 
  • Place a spoonful of rice mixture onto grape leaves.  Roll them up and place into the pot on top of the sliced potatoes one by one until full.  
  • Add about half a cup of room temperature water to the pot on top of the uncooked stuffed grape leaves. 
  • Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for one hour.  **Steam will cook through the rice and bind everything together inside the grape leaves**
  • Plate, and Enjoy :) 

I will be releasing a video this week on my youtube channel to give you a better idea of how to prepare this dish, so if you haven't subscribed to my youtube channel


A big thank you to Riceland  for having me, I had such a wonderful time learning more about Riceland, and rice! 

Special thanks to Robin from Riceland for making this partnership possible :)

What rice recipes do you make at home?  Any breakfast recipes? I'm curious. 

Styled & photographed by Zeinab Kristen of
Made with love by her Father
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